March 7, 2014

Plattsburgh State Knocks Engineers Out of NCAA Tournament

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – Junior Andrew Acker (Merion Station, Pa.) recorded his 14th double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds, but it was not enough for the MIT men's basketball team as the Engineers fell to Plattsburgh State, 76-53, in the first round of the 2014 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament.

MIT (20-8) stayed with Plattsburg State early on the strength of a pair of threes from sophomore Justin Pedley (Kennewick, Wash.) and a pair of baskets by Acker. Pedley's second trey of the contest had the Engineers up 7-6 three and a half minutes in, and Acker's bucket knotted the game at 11-all at the 12-minute mark.

Ezra Hodgson broke the stalemate with a basket and then hit a three, one of six he made on the night, a minute and a half later that keyed a 10-0 run by Plattsburgh State (23-5) midway through the first half. MIT answered with a conventional three-point play from junior Dennis Levene (Weston, Conn.) and a basket from Acker to cut the lead in half at 21-16 with seven minutes left.

But the Cardinal dropped in five straight, including a three from Mike Mitchell, to push its lead back to 10. That is where is stayed at the half, as a layup from Levene with less than a second to go kept the Engineers deficit at 10 at 33-23. 

Hodgson hit a three to open the second half for Plattsburgh State, but Acker answered with a conventional three-point play on the other end to keep it a 10-point game. The Cardinals, who hit 11 three-pointers for the game, came back with another as Shamoy McIntosh hit one to push the lead back to 13.

MIT could not put a run together to put a dent in the Plattsburgh State lead and the Cardinals slowly pulled away, taking a 51-34 advantage on another Hodgson three with 11:35 to go. The Engineers, who did not score consecutive field goals the entire half, could not get closer than 16 the rest of the way. Back-to-back threes from Hodgson around the five-minute mark put the finishing touches on the win that sent the home standing Cardinals on to the second round of the tournament.

Pedley was the only other player to reach double figures in scoring, finishing with 10. Levene and freshman Tim Butala (Monroe, Conn.) both finished with seven points for the Engineers. Hodgson also shared the team lead for Plattsburgh State in rebounds, as both he and Chris Manning pulled down seven. McIntosh finished with 15 points and four assists, while Alan Siergiej added 10 points for the Cardinals.

MIT held a 37-31 edge on the glass, but the Engineers committed 17 turnovers that led to 17 Plattsburgh State points. The Cardinals outshot the Engineers from the floor, 42.9 percent to 39.6 percent.